You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.

E.O. Wilson

All You Can Give

As 2021 draws to a close, we ruminate on what has transpired over the past 12 months and what we would like to manifest in the coming year. It’s a time to be both gentle with yourself on missteps made - as I tell my children, “what’s done is done” - and raise the bar for what the future can hold. As an organization, we have our sights set high on the promise of 2022. We are actively recruiting a more diverse staff than ever before, planning trainings and workshops to ensure that all of our staff feel prepared for and included in our GRP culture. We are deepening existing relationships with camper referral partners such as Wayfinders, Camplify, and AAUW, and making new connections with organizations to make sure that more kids get to experience camp on the Preserve next summer. As we seek to increase our scholarship coffers, we will need more finanical support from our community in the coming year than in years past. In fact, as we ramp up our campaign to connect more children with nature in the New Year, you might feel tempted to unsubscribe from our emails . Please don’t. Instead think back to what summers spent at Green River Preserve have meant to you, your children, and your family. Give generously as you are able so that young people who would otherwise not have this opportunity can experience camp. Every dollar donated is a tax-deductible gift.

If you are still reading, thank you. Read on for a firsthand account of how one of our own beloved expedition leaders challenged himself to a grueling thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail and raised $2000 for our scholarship fund in the process! Will Langford just finished this enormous feat of physical and mental endurance earlier this month and we couldn’t be more proud of his honorable, persistent path.

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Hey GRP! I am currently at the 1600 mile marker southbound on the Appalachian Trail and I have found myself thinking about the woodcraft laws at GRP, specifically Fortitude. “ Be brave. Courage is the noblest of all attainments.” Right now, fortitude for me looks like having the courage to get out of my sleeping bag in the morning when it’s below freezing and I can see ice in my water bottle. I am currently hiking alone, trying to catch up to my trail family just ahead of me. I find great happiness in solitude, one might say I am an introverted extrovert, but as the days have gotten shorter and colder I long for my friends that I have formed such great relationships with on trail. They are truly family, hikers take care of hikers. Just like we all take care of each other at GRP. In respect circles I have heard Anne and Steve say that they believe the world would be a better place if everyone got to go to camp. I subscribe to that, and now on trail I believe the same to be true for doing a thru hike. Or just a section, or a campout for 3 days in the Green River Valley.

Take that spark that we have been given at GRP and help give it to others, take a walk around the neighborhood with your friend instead of playing a video game one afternoon. GRP isn’t just down that dirt road in Appalachia, it’s also wherever you find yourself out in the world. That friend could then do the same for someone else and hey, y’all might be hiking in the Grand Canyon one day. Nature is healing for me, I hope everyone gets an opportunity in life to feel some of that as well. Even the hardest days out here are pretty darn sweet in that I learn more about myself and how I handle hard situations. Humble pie every day, and with that some of the best therapy I’ve ever received.

When I am wet and cold lately, I try to take some advice from Jennifer Pharr Davis, a WNC local who held the fastest known time on the Appalachian trail. So, instead of cursing the snow/ rain and cold, I try to take a breath and yell out “ WOAH I FEEL ALIVE RIGHT NOW!”

Seek the joy of being alive always! William Langford